Price tag for new hospital slightly below national average

Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center cost $242 a square foot to build, about $20 under the national average for hospitals, officials said Monday.

The national construction average is $260-$270, said project manager Jim Daly, who works for Moon Mayoras Architects Inc.

"The reason it came in so low is that Hunt (the hospital's contractor) had locked in subcontractors' contracts about two years ago," Daly said. "Prices have been going up rapidly since. Even commercial buildings are 30 percent more expensive than they were two years ago."

He said the contractor bought high-cost materials - such as steel - in advance of construction dates and before prices spiked.

"We've been told by architects that the cost of construction has gone up pretty dramatically relating to the cost of materials and labor," said hospital Chief Operations Officer Kevin Stansbury. "We understand that even without that, we did build an efficient facility and it cost us roughly $240 a square foot."

Add in the cost of furniture, artwork, supplies and new technology and that figure comes to $335 a square foot.

In comparison, Daly said the construction cost for a hospital in Las Vegas is $260 a square foot. In the Bay area it's as high as $400 a square foot. Reno stays near the average.

"We had just an excellent team working together, with the architect, contractor and the hospital and Roger Sedway, our construction manager," Stansbury said. "Everybody worked together knowing we were going to bring this project in on time and on budget."

Although Stansbury declined to comment on how the cost of construction related to a prevailing-wage dispute between the hospital and labor groups, he did say the budget included prevailing wages.

Carson-Tahoe officials argued that funds to build the medical center were privately raised, so state prevailing-wage laws don't apply. Labor unions claim the hospital should have paid prevailing wages, as determined by the state, because bonds to finance the project were issued through Carson City government.

The hospital lost a ruling in district court and has appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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